Mara worked as a chambermaid at the Amell Family estate, and was the daughter of the old head cook.
Mara was befriended and eventually fell in love with Gamlen Amell, in charge of the estate at the time. Gamlen and Mara both nursed Lord Aristide and Lady Bethann after they fell sick with cholera - though they got better, they never regained their full strength. Lady Bethann died after a second bout in 9:10, while Lord Aristide died one year later in 9:11.
Despite the numerous scandals faced by the Amells, Mara stayed with Gamlen. She eventually found employment with the Reinhardt family.
Eventually Mara left Gamlen when he continued to spend his nights gambling, saying that she wouldn't let him waste another life like he'd wasted his.
During the quest Gamlen's Greatest Treasure, it is referenced that Mara left Gamlen because he had been too obsessed with finding the Gem of Keroshek, and that she was pregnant with Gamlen's daughter Charade at the time. Mara did not tell Gamlen she was pregnant when she left him, and he therefore had no idea about the existence of his daughter. Mara repeatedly told Charade she was "so much like [her father]", but never revealed Gamlen's identity to Charade until she was on her deathbed.
She died in 9:36 Dragon, a year before the events of Act 3 in Dragon Age II.
Unlike the rest of Hawke's family members, Mara's daughter Charade's appearance is fixed and does not change to match Hawke's appearance at creation. This apparent discrepancy is explained when Gamlen "thanks the Maker" that she got her mother's looks. It can therefore be assumed that Mara shares similarities with the appearance of her daughter.
- Charade: "My mother, Mara... she left Gamlen before I was born. He was so fixated on finding that stupid gem, I doubt he even noticed she was gone. She told me about Gamlen before she died last year. I didn't even know about him."───────
- Gamlen: "I didn't know Mara had a baby. If I did, I would have - I don't know - gone after her or something."
- Charade: "She used to say I was so much like you, and I didn't even know who you were."